When I was young, I often was greeted by the sound of our pressure cooker hissing and the weighted gauge clicking rhythmically as I entered our home after school on winter days. After slogging through snowbanks in my snow pants and knee-high winter boots, I needed some sustenance.
My favourite type of soup was homemade vegetable-beef, especially when my mother cooked dumplings on top. Usually the scent of freshly baked bread also guided me into the kitchen. Yes, I was in carbohydrate heaven.
I bet you can guess my favourite winter menu. What’s yours? On cold winter days, a bowl of steaming soup can be comforting, especially if it is simmering in a slow cooker when you arrive home.
Adding more soup to your diet may help prevent the frequent dilemma of shrinking pants during the winter months. The sedentary indoor lifestyle promoted by cold weather can result in us adding some pounds. Eating more soup can help prevent weight gain.
According to the concept of “volumetrics” developed by Pennsylvania State nutrition professor, Barbara Rolls, we should eat more high-fluid foods to take in fewer calories. When we manage our calorie intake, we can lose or maintain our weight.
Broth-based vegetable soup can fill you. Vegetables and broth consist primarily of water, so they are naturally low in calories yet high in volume. We all need plenty of water to maintain hydration throughout all seasons.
Any vegetable makes a good starting point for soup. Vegetables are an excellent source of vitamins A and C and fibre. Add your favourite protein, whether it is leftover chicken, pork, beef, beans or tofu. Then add some herbs and spices to flavour your soup as desired.
To put the volumetrics concept into play in your daily diet, enjoy soup as your main course or a starter course. Professor Rolls reported that enjoying a cup of soup as a starter course could cut your overall calorie intake for that meal by one-fifth.
You can use food from your pantry, freezer or leftovers from your refrigerator to make a tasty soup in about 30 minutes following these seven easy steps.
Step 1. Choose one fat
- 2 tbsp. canola, sunflower, olive or other oil or 2 tbsp. butter or 2 tbsp. margarine
- Heat in a large pot on the stove.
Step 2. Rinse and chop one medium onion
- Add to the pot and cook over medium heat until tender.
Step 3. Choose one of the following types of broth. Add to the pot
- 2 (16-oz.) cans chicken, beef or vegetable broth
- 4 c. water plus chicken, beef or vegetable bouillon or soup base prepared according to manufacturer’s directions
- 1 (16-oz.) can crushed or diced tomatoes and 3 c. water
Step 4. Choose one protein. Add to the pot
- 1 lb. cooked (or leftover) chopped/diced beef, chicken, pork, ham, lean sausage, etc.
- 1 (16-oz.) can beef, chicken, ham
- 1 (16-oz.) can beans (pinto, kidney, navy, black, etc.), drained and rinsed
Step 5. Choose one starch. Add to the pot
- 3 to 4 c. diced potatoes
- 4 oz. egg noodles, macaroni, pasta (or 1-1/2 c. leftover cooked noodles)
Step 6. Choose a mixture of 2 to 3 cups chopped vegetables (fresh, frozen or canned) and add to the pot
- A few examples: Carrots, celery, broccoli, corn, mushrooms, zucchini, cauliflower, bell peppers
Step 7. Choose one or more seasonings to add to the pot and simmer for 20 to 25 minutes or until vegetables are tender and starch is cooked
- 1 to 2 tsp. dried herbs (oregano, basil, cumin, chili powder, thyme, rosemary, parsley, etc.)
- Bay leaf (remove before serving)
- Minced garlic
- 1 to 2 tbsp. fresh herbs (add five minutes before serving)
You might have the makings for this hearty main-dish soup in your home. This recipe is adapted from the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Harvest of Recipes. Visit “The Family Table” website for more recipes and tips about planning and preparing healthful meals. Join one of our family mealtime challenges.
Beefy Corn Soup
- 1/2 lb. extra-lean ground beef
- 1 c. onion, diced
- 1 tbsp. garlic, finely chopped
- 2 c. water (or low-sodium beef broth)
- 1 (15-oz.) can whole-kernel corn, drained and rinsed (or 2 c. frozen corn)
- 2 (15-oz.) cans cream-style corn 1 tbsp. chili powder (or to taste) 1/2 tsp. salt (if desired)
- 1/2 tsp. black pepper
- 1/2 c. uncooked rice (or 1-1/2 c. leftover cooked rice)
In a large pot, brown ground beef, onions and garlic over medium to high heat for eight to 10 minutes until cooked through. Drain fat. Add water, corn kernels, cream-style corn, chili powder, salt (if desired) and pepper. Mix well. Cook over low heat for about 15 minutes and serve hot.
Makes six servings. Each serving has 250 calories, 6 grams (g) fat, 16 g protein, 38 g carbohydrate, 2 g fibre and 410 milligrams sodium.